Seeking a Heart of Wisdom
God’s Wisdom for…Your Life
God’s Wisdom for…Your Spiritual Life
God’s Wisdom for…Your Daily Life
God’s Wisdom for…Your Family Life
God’s Wisdom for…Your Personal Life
I don’t know about you, but it seems like I have to make at least one decision a second! Sometimes I feel like life’s demands are bombarding me on all fronts. And every assault calls for something from me—a word, an answer, a judgment call, an action, a choice. I have to decide what to think or not think, say or not say, ask or let lie, work on or wait on. I even have to determine whether to buy or not buy, pause or move into action, get up or sit down. In a word, what I need with my every breath is wisdom!
So…how does one get wisdom? After examining how one Old Testament man acquired wisdom, we’ll set out the steps we can take to follow his example.
Long, long ago, about 3,000 years ago, Israel had a newly crowned king named Solomon. Solomon was the son of the mighty King David. He was new at being a king, he was somewhat young (1 Kings 3:7), he had lived his whole life in his father’s shadow, and he was definitely inexperienced. As he quaked in his sandals and staggered under the weight of his new responsibility, Solomon did what you and I must learn to do. He took the first step toward wisdom. He humbled himself before God in prayer and asked for wisdom.
I’m sure you’ve heard the fairy-tale scenario “Ask anything you wish and it will be granted.” Well, this is essentially what happened to Solomon. In a dream the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5).
(What would you ask for, dear reader?) Solomon shows us the right thing to ask for. He answered, “Give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (verse 9).
And the result? Solomon’s asking for wisdom and discernment pleased the Lord. Therefore God said to Solomon, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.”
And then came the bonus! “And I have also given you what you have not asked; both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (3:11-13).
And by the way, Solomon became the wisest man who ever lived (other than Jesus Christ, of course). He is heralded as a man who spoke 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). In the book of Proverbs you and I can read the best of his 3,000 proverbs. He was truly brilliant. Why? Because God blessed him and “God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding” (1 Kings 4:29).
What woman doesn’t want to be, and be known as, a woman of wisdom? (And what woman doesn’t need wisdom!) I know I do, and I believe you do too. As we look through Proverbs we discern these unchanging steps that will cause us to be women of greater wisdom.
Step 1—We must desire wisdom. Let’s go a step further and say we must desire wisdom above all else. This is the step—the first step toward wisdom—that Solomon shows us. He desired wisdom. And he desired it above all the other things that the human heart can desire.
How do the desires of your heart measure up? Do you desire long life, riches, and triumph over your enemies (1 Kings 3:11), or do you desire wisdom? Check your heart. As Solomon teaches us, “Happy is the man [or woman] who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14).
Step 2—We must pray for wisdom. Again, Solomon shows us the way to wisdom. He prayed for it! He recognized his need for wisdom…and he asked God for it. He didn’t pray for a good marriage, for obedient children, or for money to pay the bills. No, he prayed, “Give me wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10).
Dear friend, when you and I learn to pray for wisdom and knowledge, then we will have what it takes to have good marriages, obedient children, and money to pay the bills! It’s all bound up in wisdom! What is it that you pray for? It’s not wrong to pray for your marriage, family, and finances. But be sure you are primarily praying for the one thing that will help every thing in your life. Check your prayers. One of my favorite scriptures regarding wisdom (written by…who else but Solomon!) exhorts you and me to “cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding” (Proverbs 2:3). Echoing this wisdom about a thousand years later, James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). So ask, precious one! Just ask!
Step 3—We must seek wisdom. The very next verses of Proverbs 2 teach us this vital step: “If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5). In the initial days of studying my way through the book of Proverbs, I remember being impressed by the effort it takes a miner to excavate jewels, silver, and gold. It requires the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears! Why? Because such treasure does not lie exposed to the casual passerby. No one on a little stroll through life (or the Christian life!) will observe such riches by chance. No! They are buried. They are out of sight…sealed away, awaiting discovery. And only the diligent, the devoted, and the determined will put forth the strenuous labor required to find them.
Continuing along in Proverbs 2, a key passage regarding wisdom, Solomon tells us point-blank where to seek for wisdom. He explains, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (verse 6). Here’s our biggest clue yet to finding hard-won wisdom—it’s in the Bible!
How diligently and strenuously are you seeking for the treasure of wisdom? Are you digging through the Bible? Are you searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11)? Do your personal goals match up with this assignment from God to seek wisdom?
Step 4—We must grow in wisdom. Solomon has definitely provided us with a strong example of a person who desired wisdom, prayed for wisdom, and sought wisdom. But, unfortunately, he provides us with a negative example of a person who failed in this vital fourth step to wisdom—he did not grow in wisdom. Early in his life Solomon recognized his need for wisdom, sought it, and stunned the nation with his keen wisdom (1 Kings 3:16-28). But then he took many foreign wives who led him into idolatry, and his desire for wisdom and his follow-through on God’s timeless principles of wisdom waned. In the end Solomon failed to obey God, neglected to grow in wisdom, and silently slipped off the pages of Scripture. Little is recorded about the last decade of Solomon’s reign over God’s people. Sadly, to this day, he is known not only for the wisdom God gave him, but also as the man who had “700 wives and 300 concubines” (1 Kings 11:3). What an epitaph!
I know we’ve looked at wisdom primarily through the life of Solomon, but now I want you to meet a woman who shows us the beauty (and benefits!) of godly wisdom. In contrast to King Solomon, she was not in a leadership position and did not have a prestigious title. No, she was a wife and a home manager, a woman very much like you and me. But…she was also a woman who just happened to possess a great measure of wisdom.
Abigail was a woman who had to make a decision-a- second, too. Married to an alcoholic tyrant named Nabal (meaning “fool”), you can only imagine the tightrope she walked. Yet Abigail is applauded as a woman of wisdom, a woman whose life was characterized by sound, wise actions and speech. Her most dazzling act of wisdom was averting a bloodbath between her foolish husband and the avenging warrior David and his 400 troops (1 Samuel 25). Abigail knew when to act…and did. She knew what to do…and did it. She knew what to say…and said it. What were some of the marks of dear Abigail’s wisdom?
She perceived the big picture.
She kept her composure.
She formed a plan.
She spoke with wisdom.
She effectively influenced others.
Abigail’s life teaches us that every challenge or responsibility that lies before us can be handled in a godly way when we handle it with godly wisdom.
Well, what will it be? Do you desire a life distinguished by wisdom…or the opposite, one marked and marred by foolishness? I think I know the answer. So let’s see what we can do just for today to begin forming daily habits that will help us become God’s women of wisdom.
Just for today…read the chapter of the book of Proverbs that corresponds with the date of this month. Pick the one verse that most spoke to your heart and your life. Go a step further and write it on a 3" x 5" card. Carry it with you all day. Prop it up near the kitchen sink when you’re at work in the kitchen. Lay it on the counter when you wash your face, brush your teeth, put on makeup, and fix your hair. Slip it into your purse to pull out and review when waiting at a red light. Have a goal to make the wisdom of that one proverb yours. Also ask yourself, Do I consider God’s wisdom to be more valuable than silver and gold?
Just for tomorrow…follow the exercise above. In fact, follow it for life. Seek the treasure of God’s wisdom by reading just one chapter every day until you meet Him face to face. Imagine the wisdom you will possess! It’s true that great things are gained by the smallest of efforts made just one day at a time. In addition, think about some decision you must make or some problem you are facing. Then heed the wisdom of Proverbs 15:22, which teaches us that “without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Who will you ask for help?
Just for this week…purchase or check out from your church library a commentary (a book of explanation written by a Bible scholar) on the book of Proverbs. Then, each day as you read, allow the wisdom and study of the scholarly author to enlighten your understanding of God’s wisdom. This is one simple way to seek and search for wisdom.
Throughout this book about God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life we will be searching for wisdom for our every need. We will be looking at what the Bible—the Book of Wisdom—has to say on a variety of life topics and issues that you and I face as women. We will also be surveying the small but practical book of Proverbs in the Bible—the wisdom book of the Bible.
However, after you have finished this book, you will need to continue your search for wisdom. Why? Because, other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God-in-the-flesh, no one has ever been born with wisdom. All must desire it, pray for it, seek it, and grow in it. I hope you will be growing in wisdom until the day you die.
So where can you begin right this minute? Open your heart now and hear these wise words of another: “The man who is truly wise is the man who finds out that he is a fool without Christ [Romans 1:22]…. As long as a man rejects Christ, he is a fool. The wisest man is he who, in complete abandonment to self, bows before the Lord.”
Have you yet bowed yourself before the Lord?
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. Proverbs 23:23
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
I…do not cease to…[make] mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:15-17
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Excerpted from God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life By Elizabeth George. Copyright © 2003 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.